25th November 2020
Dear Parents, Staff and Board of Management members,
Following advice from our school inspector we are forwarding this reminder to Parents, Staff and Board of Management members, of the COVID-19 guidelines, procedures and safety and control measures currently in place within the school. We continue to remind the children on a daily basis of the importance of washing their hands, sanitising their work areas and maintaining social distancing in school and when lining up in their groups. We would kindly ask parents to reiterate these points at home.
In the event of a positive case in our school, please familiarise yourself with the following procedures we have put in place to deal with such a situation if it were to arise.
Safety and Control Measures
The BoM, school leadership and staff are very conscious of the paramount need to keep all pupils, staff and visitors safe while in the school. The school is a controlled environment. There are control measures in place to combat the introduction or spread of COVID-19. These are based on:
- Physical Distancing
- Hand Hygiene
- Respiratory and Hygiene Etiquette
- Mask Wearing, where necessary.
When a person displays symptoms of COVID-19
The following steps are taken when a person (child or adult) in the school presents with suspected COVID-19 symptoms:
- That person is moved to the isolated area prior to going home. In the case of children their parents will be asked to come to the school, take them home and contact their GP for a free telephone consultation
- If the GP recommends that the person (child or adult) go for a COVID-19 test, that person is now considered a query case for COVID-19 and all of his/her household members must restrict their movements until the results of the test come back
- In the case of a negative result (98% of cases), the GP will advise when the person should return to school – usually after 48 hours.
- In the case of a positive result (2% of cases), Public Health will, by law, be informed. This may take a matter of hours due to legal and volume of work issues. The risk has been removed from the school as the person who tested positive and his/her household are at home
- The person tested, or their parents, may well be informed before Public Health. In many cases a social media discussion ensues and anxiety levels are raised among the school community.
Public Health Intervention
The Public Health Department of the HSE is the agency responsible by law for dealing with positive cases of COVID-19:
- Once notified by the HSE testing regime, Public Health Doctors assume total control of the situation and will carry out a risk assessment. Based on questioning the person with the positive result, they will ascertain if they were within the school setting when they contracted the virus. If not, there may be no need to contact the school
- If the person was within the school setting when they contracted the virus, Public Health will contact the Principal to carry out a Public Health Risk Assessment. This is a set of questions to see who might have been exposed to the virus and who needs to be excluded or tested. This risk assessment will be unique to each school
- The Principal and BoM have no function in the risk assessment, other than to provide whatever information is required by the Public Health Medical Officer conducting the risk assessment
- The Principal and BoM may be asked to assist the Medical Officer by sending a message from them to the relevant families identified in the risk assessment. Public Health will not contact other members of the school community
- The Principal and BoM are not permitted to inform members of the school community of the identity of the person or persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 for the following reasons:
- Doctor – Patient confidentiality
- GDPR legislation prevents the publication of personal data without consent
We will update the school website with regular updates and would encourage Parents to check www.dromiskinns.ie regularly to ensure that you are fully informed.
Ms. Aoibheann Lynch